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The Dos and Don’ts of applying for our graduate programme

Each year we receive over 5,000 applications to our graduate roles, and we review all of the applications we receive. Having read every single application, our team has come across the good, the bad and the ugly of graduate applications! As our 2018 campaign is now open, I wanted to share with you some do’s and dont's for applying to graduate positions.

 

What should you do?

Do tailor your CV – make sure you research the business and the role you are applying for. Tailor your CV to the role and business highlighting the skills, experiences and interests you have that are relevant. If you are applying for a bridges role for example this may involve highlighting the structural or bridge based modules that you have studied.

Do be yourself – we want to hire you for your strengths and what you can contribute to our business, not because you have the memory capacity to recall Google’s 10 best interview answers. Don’t tell us what you think we want to hear, answer honestly and be yourself.

Do check your CV – proof reading can be dull. We get that, but for your CV I cannot stress how important this is. First impressions count and if our first impression of you is a spelling mistake or grammatical error you’re on the back foot before you’re past the first stage. Check, check and then check again.

What shouldn’t you do?

Don’t lose focus – If you’re completing a video interview remain focused on the task and ensure you have told anyone around you that you are not to be interrupted.  You never know what you might say on camera if you allow yourself to be distracted. We’ve had more than one swear word recorded on our video interviews! It’s a small mistake but one that we wouldn’t want you to make in front of a client. Needless to say this doesn’t go down well.

Don’t mention our competitors – Seems obvious right? It should be, but we’ve seen our competitor’s names in cover letters a number of times. It’s the curse of copy and paste. We appreciate you are probably applying to other businesses but we want to feel special. Again, check everything, and if you are copying and pasting be sure you have updated everything.

Don’t tell us what we already know – We wrote our website, we know what’s on there. We are one of the world’s leading professional services and engineering consultancies but we don’t need you to tell us that. When you do your research find out what personally excites you about the business or what projects are you really interested in and tell us about these instead.

Best of luck in your job search, and we hope to be reading your applications very soon. Visit our graduate careers page for more information on what it is like to be a graduate at WSP.

Mel Clark is senior graduate recruitment specialist at WSP